Yazidis left to their fate in Iraq: ‘The world has forgotten us’
8:00AM BST 10 Aug 2015
The beginning of pure evil.
Read the original post at The Telegraph
A year after Islamic State’s siege of Mount Sinjar alerted the world to the fate of the Yazidi people, the Iraqi MP who highlighted their plight tells Richard Spencer that they have been abandoned.
The woman MP from the threatened Yazidi minority who attracted the world’s attention to her people’s plight a year ago. With a tear-filled plea to the Iraqi parliament to save them, she accuses the world of now abandoning them to their fate.
In an interview with The Telegraph to mark the anniversary of the killings by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, thousands of Yazidis around their historic homeland of Mount Sinjar speak about the capture and mass rape of their women.
Vian Dakhil said refugees were being forced to sell their few possessions to buy back girls from the group’s “slave markets.” Tragically, thousands of women, girls and children remain captive despite aerial bombardment of Isil positions by a US-led coalition, including Britain.
The World has Forgotten Us
“The world has forgotten us,” Vian Dakhil said at her family home in Erbil. Her own home in Sinjar town was seized and destroyed by Isil. “I know Sinjar was not the first town attacked by Isil, but it was the first to have a mass kidnap.
“We have a thousand people that no one knows where they are. And yet we are totally forgotten.”
She said that when 250 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, there was a worldwide “Bring back our girls” campaign. But when she wrote to Michelle Obama to ask for help for Yazidi women she received no reply.
“I have been to the United Nations security council three times and spoken there,” she said. “Some people were crying. They applauded, then they said sorry, and goodbye.
“I have been to the European Parliament six or seven times. ‘Oh my god,’ they say, ‘what a terrible story.’ And then they do nothing.”
The Kurdish-speaking Yazidis are regarded as infidel by Isil for their religion, which is derived from Zoroastrianism and involves worship of a “Peacock Angel”.
Mt. Sinjar is not a Resting Place
They were driven from Sinjar, on the borders of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) and the rest of Iraq in the first week of August last year in a wave of attacks which subsequently captured Christian areas.
In total, two million people fled, and an estimated 450,000 Yazidis remain living rough in building sites or in primitive refugee camps.
Aerial photographs of tens of thousands of Yazidis stranded in the summer heat last year on top of Mt. Sinjar, where children and elderly died of dehydration, shocked the world.
A YouTube video of Ms. Dakhil weeping in Iraq’s parliamentary chamber is posted here. “There is now a campaign of genocide being waged on the Yazidis,” she said, as the speaker tried to interrupt her. “Please, Mr Speaker, my people are being slaughtered just as all Iraqis were slaughtered.
“I speak here in the name of humanity. Save us! Save us! An entire religion is being exterminated from the face of the earth.”
Isil’s Attacks not Answered by U.S.-led Coalitions
Isil’s attacks, which briefly threatened the Kurdish capital Erbil, finally triggered U.S., British and allied intervention. However, the Yazidis have become victim to the strategy pursued by President Obama of refusing to send in ground troops and not seeking a swift – but reversible – victory.
Kurdish forces have found 12 mass graves of Yazidis killed a year ago, Ms Dakhil said. Witnesses at the time described to The Telegraph how they saw scores of men being taken out of fleeing convoys, lined up by the roadside, and shot.
But the slow advance does little to rescue the captured women. Isil openly encourages jihadists to force girls, even in prepubescence, into sexual servitude, justifying it in online jihadist literature by citing the treatment of captive infidel women in early Muslim conquests.
Videos of men bragging about their “purchases”, along with price lists rising from a few tens of dollars for older women to $170 for children have also circulated.
Ms Dakhil said she believed recent reports that a number of women were executed recently for refusing to agree to the jihadists’ sexual demands. A decree in the run-up to the fasting month of Ramadan specified that it was now time for the women to “submit”.
Children were being converted and the Boys Trained as Jihadists
The Kurdish regional government was originally unwilling to participate in the scheme to ransom women. But Ms. Dakhil said it was now helping with money both for payments and to provide social services to the women, who are traumatised, in some cases pregnant and suffering gynecological injuries.
Some 780 have now been bought back through middle men, at prices of USD$4-6,000 and smuggled home. In some cases, jihadists participate in the ransoms, as an extra source of income. But at least 2,000 are still known to be held.
Money comes from voluntary donations, including from wealthier Yazidis, and by families selling cars, jewelery, and other possessions.
Ms. Dakhil said the longer-term solution was to increase the pace of the war against Isil. Providing more weapons directly to the Kurds. Germany has sent Milan anti-tank missiles and is promising more heavy weapons. The U.S. provides most of the help via the central government in Baghdad, which she says has done “nothing” for the Yazidis.
“There are many ways the world could help,” she said. “More air strikes, they could send the army, or more equipment and arms. We need humanitarian supplies.
“When the Yazidis do come back from Isil they have nothing.”